PhoneSat: Convert Your Smartphone Into a Satellite

2014 Challenge

  • Hashtags:

    #spacetech, #convertyoursmartphone


    [email protected]



    Challenge Description

    Your challenge is three-fold: develop a USB-like dongle that converts a smart phone into a nanosatellite/CubeSat; develop a StarTracker app to convert a smart phone camera into a star tracker; and/or create a mission analysis using a sample launch vehicle. You can create a PhoneSat by providing solar power to charge the battery, an attitude control actuator (either a vibrator/reaction-wheel or magnetorquer), and low gain antenna for communication. Smart phones already have gyro, so one satellite sensor is already provided. The phone’s vibrator function could also act as an actuator, but is only capable of 1 axis control so the dongle would need to provide control over the other axes. You can create a StarTracker app that will convert your smart phone camera into a star tracker to determine in-orbit attitude pointing. For the mission analysis, you can use a launch from a space-tourism commercial launch or a government provider and create a ConvertdSAT-like scenario.


    Existing solar charging products are available that charge a mobile phone battery. You could implement a similar scaled down version of a phone solar charger, which also provides control actuators using a phone vibration mechanism or constructing a magnotorquer.

    Solution Ideas

    Here are some ways for you to frame this solution:

    · The interface to the smart phone can be the phone's data and charging connector;

    · The phone can provide computational power such that the apps can implement the attitude control based on the built in sensors;

    · The smart phone nanosatellite can be designed for low earth orbit and potentiall be launched from any available launch system;

    · Communication can be either via the dongle and Low Gain Antenna, or using the phone's built-in antennae;

    · Miniaturization is key - since all components must fit into a USB-like dongle that is the same size and mass as your smart phone; and

    · External chassis and structure can be kept to a minimum. The intent is to have no external structure apart from the phone and the dongle.

    Sample Resources

  • The following projects are solving this challenge:

    • Collage Sat

      The aim of this project was to generate a conceptual idea for turning an android or ubunto (linux based) smartphone device into a low orbit micro satellite. The satellite must utilise the phones processing as well as features such as the camera for capturing required data. Team Duct Tape took thi... Visit Project

    • piSat

      piSat aims to implement a raspberry pi cubesat design to downlink high quality astrophotography data above the atmosphere. The project will use a blade-rf for high bandwidth data transmission and will use start tracking to give orbital position information as part of the dataset. This proje... Visit Project

    • SpaceCoop

      Space Coop ========== # Our challenge We decided to choose the #convertyoursmartphone challenge. The aim is to modify thanks to a "USB Dongle" a smartphone into a satellite. We thought that making only one satellite was a little bit limited ! So we changed the challenge scope and des... Visit Project

    • Swarm Xplorer

      The Swarm Xplorer project offers to launch in space a vast group of mini satellites, built with hacked and repurposed mobile phones, and designed to collect a large amount of photographic data for space research. Swarm Xplorer is the exact opposite of traditional space technologies, by using low... Visit Project

    • Startracker apps

      My project will be focus on writing apps in Andriod . It would support andriod version 4.4. 1. Star pattern need to be recognized a.) Access active pixel sensor in a wide-field-of-view to miniaturized star camera. b.) Image processing photo and compare to the database 2. Implement to be a... Visit Project

    • Personal SAT

      Launch a group of nano satellite built with cell phones and put into the orbit in order to provide specific information from the space with all necessary requirements will be used to gather information through environmental imagines from the atmosphere, climatic changes in real time. Visit Project


      Navigate through the sky map and watch the universe !!! You can use any android device with sdk 4.03 or up !! Enjoy the experience of tracking using google glass !! Visit Project

    • Selfi Ship

      Our mini drone would be made by a service module consists of a arduino card, a bottle of compressed air, pipes and valves that allow the mobility of our drone. The payload would consist of the smartphone would be responsible for taking pictures or videos with camera, save it to memory and t... Visit Project

    • PhoneSat I

      ![Phonesat]( Motivation ---------- Before the industrial revolution happened in England, the challenges were focused on improving roads and transportation. New roads were built, then improved with broken stones allowing faster carriages. Water... Visit Project

    • Android Base Station

      Video version here: The opportunity: --------------- The cost of satellite bandwidth varies a lot depending on the connection. The easiest, most expensive and slowest is geo-stationary. These far out satellites need only a fixed dish, are expensive... Visit Project

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